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How to write a great cover letter in 2024: tips and structure


A cover letter is a personalized letter that introduces you to a potential employer, highlights your qualifications, and explains why you're a strong fit for a specific job.

Hate or love them, these brief documents allow job seekers to make an impression and stand out from the pile of other applications. Penning a thoughtful cover letter shows the hiring team you care about earning the position.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to write a cover letter — and a great one, at that.

What is a cover letter and why does it matter?

A professional cover letter is a one-page document you submit alongside your CV or resume as part of a job application. Typically, they’re about half a page or around 150–300 words.

An effective cover letter doesn’t just rehash your CV; it’s your chance to highlight your proudest moments, explain why you want the job, and state plainly what you bring to the table.

Show the reviewer you’re likable, talented, and will add to the company’s culture . You can refer to previous jobs and other information from your CV, but only if it helps tell a story about you and your career choices .

What 3 things should you include in a cover letter?

A well-crafted cover letter can help you stand out to potential employers. To make your cover letter shine, here are three key elements to include:

1. Personalization

Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name whenever possible. If the job posting doesn't include a name, research to find out who will be reviewing applications. Personalizing your cover letter shows that you've taken the time to tailor your application to the specific company and role.

2. Highlight relevant achievements and skills

Emphasize your most relevant skills , experiences, and accomplishments that directly relate to the job you're applying for. Provide specific examples of how your skills have benefited previous employers and how they can contribute to the prospective employer's success. Use quantifiable achievements , such as improved efficiency, cost savings, or project success, to demonstrate your impact.

3. Show enthusiasm and fit

Express your enthusiasm for the company and the position you're applying for. Explain why you are interested in this role and believe you are a good fit for the organization. Mention how your values, goals, and skills align with the company's mission and culture. Demonstrating that you've done your research can make a significant impression.

What do hiring managers look for in a cover letter?

Employers look for several key elements in a cover letter. These include:

Employers want to see that your cover letter is specifically tailored to the position you are applying for. It should demonstrate how your skills, experiences, and qualifications align with the job requirements.

Clear and concise writing

A well-written cover letter is concise, easy to read, and error-free. Employers appreciate clear and effective communication skills , so make sure your cover letter showcases your ability to express yourself effectively.

Demonstrated knowledge of the company

Employers want to see that you are genuinely interested in their organization. Mention specific details about the company, such as recent achievements or projects, to show that you are enthusiastic about joining their team.

Achievements and accomplishments

Highlight your relevant achievements and accomplishments that demonstrate your qualifications for the position. Use specific examples to showcase your skills and show how they can benefit the employer.

Enthusiasm and motivation

Employers want to hire candidates who are excited about the opportunity and motivated to contribute to the company's success. Express your enthusiasm and passion for the role and explain why you are interested in working for the company.


A cover letter should be professional in tone and presentation. Use formal language, address the hiring manager appropriately, and follow standard business letter formatting.


How do you structure a cover letter?

A well-structured cover letter follows a specific format that makes it easy for the reader to understand your qualifications and enthusiasm for the position. Here's a typical structure for a cover letter:

Contact information

Include your name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of the letter. Place your contact information at the beginning so that it's easy for the employer to reach you.

Employer's contact information

Opening paragraph, middle paragraph(s), closing paragraph, complimentary close, additional contact information.

Repeat your contact information (name, phone number, and email) at the end of the letter, just in case the employer needs it for quick reference.

Remember to keep your cover letter concise and focused. It should typically be no more than one page in length. Proofread your letter carefully to ensure it is free from spelling and grammatical errors. Tailor each cover letter to the specific job application to make it as relevant and impactful as possible.

How to write a good cover letter (with examples)

The best letters are unique, tailored to the job description, and written in your voice — but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a job cover letter template.

Great cover letters contain the same basic elements and flow a certain way. Take a look at this cover letter structure for ref erence while you construct your own.

1. Add a header and contact information

While reading your cover letter, the recruiter shouldn’t have to look far to find who wrote it. Your document should include a basic heading with the following information:

  • Pronouns (optional)
  • Location (optional)
  • Email address
  • Phone number (optional)
  • Relevant links, such as your LinkedIn profile , portfolio, or personal website (optional)

You can pull this information directly from your CV. Put it together, and it will look something like this:

Christopher Pike

San Francisco, California

[email protected]

Alternatively, if the posting asks you to submit your cover letter in the body of an email, you can include this information in your signature. For example:

Warm regards,

Catherine Janeway

Bloomington, Indiana

[email protected]

(555) 999 - 2222


2. Include a personal greeting

Always begin your cover letter by addressing the hiring manager — preferably by name. You can use the person’s first and last name. Make sure to include a relevant title, like Dr., Mr., or Ms. For example, “Dear Mr. John Doe.”

Avoid generic openings like “To whom it may concern,” “Dear sir or madam,” or “Dear hiring manager.” These introductions sound impersonal — like you’re copy-pasting cover letters — and can work against you in the hiring process.

Be careful, though. When using someone’s name, you don’t want to use the wrong title or accidentally misgender someone. If in doubt, using only their name is enough. You could also opt for a gender-neutral title, like Mx.

Make sure you’re addressing the right person in your letter — ideally, the person who’s making the final hiring decision. This isn’t always specified in the job posting, so you may have to do some research to learn the name of the hiring manager.

3. Draw them in with an opening story

The opening paragraph of your cover letter should hook the reader. You want it to be memorable, conversational, and extremely relevant to the job you’re pursuing. 

There’s no need for a personal introduction — you’ve already included your name in the heading. But you should make reference to the job you’re applying for. A simple “Thank you for considering my application for the role of [job title] at [company],” will suffice.

Then you can get into the “Why” of your job application. Drive home what makes this specific job and this company so appealing to you. Perhaps you’re a fan of their products, you’re passionate about their mission, or you love their brand voice. Whatever the case, this section is where you share your enthusiasm for the role.

Here’s an example opening paragraph. In this scenario, you’re applying for a digital marketing role at a bicycle company:

“Dear Mr. John Doe,

Thank you for considering my application for the role of Marketing Coordinator at Bits n’ Bikes.

My parents bought my first bike at one of your stores. I’ll never forget the freedom I felt when I learned to ride it. My father removed my training wheels, and my mom sent me barrelling down the street. You provide joy to families across the country — and I want to be part of that.”

4. Emphasize why you’re best for the job

Your next paragraphs should be focused on the role you’re applying to. Highlight your skill set and why you’re a good fit for the needs and expectations associated with the position. Hiring managers want to know what you’ll bring to the job, not just any role.

Start by studying the job description for hints. What problem are they trying to solve with this hire? What skills and qualifications do they mention first or more than once? These are indicators of what’s important to the hiring manager.

Search for details that match your experience and interests. For example, if you’re excited about a fast-paced job in public relations, you might look for these elements in a posting:

  • They want someone who can write social media posts and blog content on tight deadlines
  • They value collaboration and input from every team member
  • They need a planner who can come up with strong PR strategies

Highlight how you fulfill these requirements:

“I’ve always been a strong writer. From blog posts to social media, my content pulls in readers and drives traffic to product pages. For example, when I worked at Bits n’ Bikes, I developed a strategic blog series about bike maintenance that increased our sales of spare parts and tools by 50% — we could see it in our web metrics.

Thanks to the input of all of our team members, including our bike mechanics, my content delivered results.”

5. End with a strong closing paragraph and sign off gracefully

Your closing paragraph is your final chance to hammer home your enthusiasm about the role and your unique ability to fill it. Reiterate the main points you explained in the body paragraphs and remind the reader of what you bring to the table.

You can also use the end of your letter to relay other important details, like whether you’re willing to relocate for the job.

When choosing a sign-off, opt for a phrase that sounds professional and genuine. Reliable options include “Sincerely” and “Kind regards.”

Here’s a strong closing statement for you to consider:

“I believe my enthusiasm, skills, and work experience as a PR professional will serve Bits n’ Bikes very well. I would love to meet to further discuss my value-add as your next Director of Public Relations. Thank you for your consideration. I hope we speak soon.


Tips to write a great cover letter that compliments your resume

When writing your own letter, try not to copy the example excerpts word-for-word. Instead, use this cover letter structure as a baseline to organize your ideas. Then, as you’re writing, use these extra cover letter tips to add your personal touch:

  • Keep your cover letter different from your resume : Your cover letter should not duplicate the information on your resume. Instead, it should provide context and explanations for key points in your resume, emphasizing how your qualifications match the specific job you're applying for.
  • Customize your cover letter . Tailor your cover letter for each job application. Address the specific needs of the company and the job posting, demonstrating that you've done your homework and understand their requirements.
  • Show enthusiasm and fit . Express your enthusiasm for the company and position in the cover letter. Explain why you are interested in working for this company and how your values, goals, and skills align with their mission and culture.
  • Use keywords . Incorporate keywords from the job description and industry terms in your cover letter. This can help your application pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS) and demonstrate that you're well-versed in the field.
  • Keep it concise . Your cover letter should be succinct and to the point, typically no more than one page. Focus on the most compelling qualifications and experiences that directly support your application.
  • Be professional . Maintain a professional tone and structure in your cover letter. Proofread it carefully to ensure there are no errors.
  • Address any gaps or concerns . If there are gaps or concerns in your resume, such as employment gaps or a change in career direction, briefly address them in your cover letter. Explain any relevant circumstances and how they have shaped your qualifications and determination.
  • Provide a call to action . Conclude your cover letter with a call to action, inviting the employer to contact you for further discussion. Mention that you've attached your resume for their reference.
  • Follow the correct format . Use a standard cover letter format like the one above, including your contact information, a formal salutation, introductory and closing paragraphs, and your signature. Ensure that it complements your resume without redundancy.
  • Pick the right voice and tone . Try to write like yourself, but adapt to the tone and voice of the company. Look at the job listing, company website, and social media posts. Do they sound fun and quirky, stoic and professional, or somewhere in-between? This guides your writing style.
  • Tell your story . You’re an individual with unique expertise, motivators, and years of experience. Tie the pieces together with a great story. Introduce how you arrived at this point in your career, where you hope to go , and how this prospective company fits in your journey. You can also explain any career changes in your resume.
  • Show, don’t tell . Anyone can say they’re a problem solver. Why should a recruiter take their word for it if they don’t back it up with examples? Instead of naming your skills, show them in action. Describe situations where you rose to the task, and quantify your success when you can.
  • Be honest . Avoid highlighting skills you don’t have. This will backfire if they ask you about them in an interview. Instead, shift focus to the ways in which you stand out.
  • Avoid clichés and bullet points . These are signs of lazy writing. Do your best to be original from the first paragraph to the final one. This highlights your individuality and demonstrates the care you put into the letter.
  • Proofread . Always spellcheck your cover letter. Look for typos, grammatical errors, and proper flow. We suggest reading it out loud. If it sounds natural rolling off the tongue, it will read naturally as well.


Common cover letter writing FAQs

How long should a cover letter be.

A cover letter should generally be concise and to the point. It is recommended to keep it to one page or less, focusing on the most relevant information that highlights your qualifications and fits the job requirements.

Should I include personal information in a cover letter?

While it's important to introduce yourself and provide your contact information, avoid including personal details such as your age, marital status, or unrelated hobbies. Instead, focus on presenting your professional qualifications and aligning them with the job requirements.

Can I use the same cover letter for multiple job applications?

While it may be tempting to reuse a cover letter, it is best to tailor each cover letter to the specific job you are applying for. This allows you to highlight why you are a good fit for that particular role and show genuine interest in the company.

Do I need to address my cover letter to a specific person?

Whenever possible, it is advisable to address your cover letter to a specific person, such as the hiring manager or recruiter. If the job posting does not provide this information, try to research and find the appropriate contact. If all else fails, you can use a generic salutation such as "Dear Hiring Manager."

Should I include references in my cover letter?

It is generally not necessary to include references in your cover letter. Save this information for when the employer explicitly requests it. Instead, focus on showcasing your qualifications and achievements that make you a strong candidate for the position.

It’s time to start writing your stand-out cover letter

The hardest part of writing is getting started. 

Hopefully, our tips gave you some jumping-off points and confidence . But if you’re really stuck, looking at cover letter examples and resume templates will help you decide where to get started. 

There are numerous sample cover letters available online. Just remember that you’re a unique, well-rounded person, and your cover letter should reflect that. Using our structure, you can tell your story while highlighting your passion for the role. 

Doing your research, including strong examples of your skills, and being courteous is how to write a strong cover letter. Take a breath , flex your fingers, and get typing. Before you know it, your job search will lead to a job interview.

If you want more personalized guidance, a specialized career coach can help review, edit, and guide you through creating a great cover letter that sticks.

Ace your job search

Explore effective job search techniques, interview strategies, and ways to overcome job-related challenges. Our coaches specialize in helping you land your dream job.

Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

3 cover letter examples to help you catch a hiring manager’s attention

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How to Write a Cover Letter [Full Guide & Examples for 2024]

Background Image

After weeks of heavy job searching, you’re almost there!

You’ve perfected your resume.

You’ve short-listed the coolest jobs you want to apply for.

You’ve even had a friend train you for every single interview question out there.

But then, before you can send in your application and call it a day, you remember that you need to write a cover letter too.

So now, you’re stuck staring at a blank page, wondering where to start...

Don’t panic! We’ve got you covered. Writing a cover letter is a lot simpler than you might think. 

In this guide, we’re going to teach you how to write a cover letter that gets you the job you deserve.

We're going to cover:

What Is a Cover Letter?

  • How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter, Step by Step
  • 15+ Job-Winning Cover Letter Examples

Let’s get started.

A cover letter is a document that you submit as part of your job application, alongside your resume or CV.

The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, it should be around 250 to 400 words long .

A good cover letter is supposed to impress the hiring manager and convince them you’re worth interviewing as a candidate.

So, how can your cover letter achieve this?

First of all, it should complement your resume, not copy it. Your cover letter is your chance to elaborate on important achievements, skills, or anything else that your resume doesn’t give you the space to cover. 

For example, if you have an employment gap on your resume, the cover letter is a great place to explain why it happened and how it helped you grow as a person. 

If this is your first time writing a cover letter, writing about yourself might seem complicated. But don’t worry—you don’t need to be super creative or even a good writer .

All you have to do is follow this tried and tested cover letter structure:

structure of a cover letter

  • Header. Add all the necessary contact information at the top of your cover letter.
  • Formal greeting. Choose an appropriate way to greet your target audience.
  • Introduction. Introduce yourself in the opening paragraph and explain your interest in the role.
  • Body. Elaborate on why you’re the best candidate for the job and a good match for the company. Focus on “selling” your skills, achievements, and relevant professional experiences.
  • Conclusion. Summarize your key points and wrap it up professionally.

Now, let’s take a look at an example of a cover letter that follows our structure perfectly:

How to Write a Cover Letter

New to cover letter writing? Give our cover letter video a watch before diving into the article!

When Should You Write a Cover Letter?

You should always include a cover letter in your job application, even if the hiring manager never reads it. Submitting a cover letter is as important as submitting a resume if you want to look like a serious candidate.

If the employer requests a cover letter as part of the screening process, not sending one is a huge red flag and will probably get your application tossed into the “no” pile immediately.

On the other hand, if the job advertisement doesn’t require a cover letter from the candidates, adding one shows you went the extra mile.

Putting in the effort to write a cover letter can set you apart from other candidates with similar professional experience and skills, and it could even sway the hiring manager to call you for an interview if you do it right.

Need to write a letter to help get you into a good school or volunteer program? Check out our guide to learn how to write a motivation letter !

How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter

Now that you know what a cover letter is, it’s time to learn how to write one!

We’ll go through the process in detail, step by step.

#1. Choose the Right Cover Letter Template

A good cover letter is all about leaving the right first impression.

So, what’s a better way to leave a good impression than a well-formatted, stylish template?

cover letter templates for 2024

Just choose one of our hand-picked cover letter templates , and you’ll be all set in no time!

As a bonus, our intuitive AI will even give you suggestions on how to improve your cover letter as you write it. You’ll have the perfect cover letter done in minutes!

cover letter templates

#2. Put Contact Information in the Header

As with a resume, it’s important to start your cover letter with your contact details at the top. These should be in your cover letter’s header, separated neatly from the bulk of your text.

Contact Information on Cover Letter

Here, you want to include all the essential contact information , including:

  • Full Name. Your first and last name should stand out at the top.
  • Job Title. Match the professional title underneath your name to the exact job title of the position you’re applying for. Hiring managers often hire for several roles at once, so giving them this cue about what role you’re after helps things go smoother.
  • Email Address. Always use a professional and easy-to-spell email address. Ideally, it should combine your first and last names.
  • Phone Number. Add a number where the hiring manager can easily reach you.
  • Location. Add your city and state/country, no need for more details.
  • Relevant Links (optional). You can add links to websites or social media profiles that are relevant to your field. Examples include a LinkedIn profile , Github, or an online portfolio.

Then it’s time to add the recipient’s contact details, such as:

  • Hiring Manager's Name. If you can find the name of the hiring manager, add it.
  • Hiring Manager's Title. While there’s no harm in writing “hiring manager,” if they’re the head of the department, we recommend you use that title accordingly.
  • Company Name. Make sure to write the name of the company you're applying to.
  • Location. The city and state/country are usually enough information here, too.
  • Date of Writing (Optional). You can include the date you wrote your cover letter for an extra professional touch.

matching resume and cover letter

#3. Address the Hiring Manager

Once you’ve properly listed all the contact information, it’s time to start writing the content of the cover letter.

The first thing you need to do here is to address your cover letter directly to the hiring manager.

In fact, you want to address the hiring manager personally .

Forget the old “Dear Sir or Madam” or the impersonal “To Whom It May Concern.” You want to give your future boss a good impression and show them that you did your research before sending in your application.

No one wants to hire a job seeker who just spams 20+ companies and hopes something sticks with their generic approach

So, how do you find out who’s the hiring manager?

First, check the job ad. The hiring manager’s name might be listed somewhere in it.

If that doesn’t work, check the company’s LinkedIn page. You just need to look up the head of the relevant department you’re applying to, and you’re all set.

For example, if you’re applying for the position of Communication Specialist at Novorésumé. The hiring manager is probably the Head of Communications or the Chief Communications Officer.

Here’s what you should look for on LinkedIn:

linkedin search cco

And there you go! You have your hiring manager.

But let’s say you’re applying for a position as a server . In that case, you’d be looking for the “restaurant manager” or “food and beverage manager.”

If the results don’t come up with anything, try checking out the “Team” page on the company website; there’s a good chance you’ll at least find the right person there.

Make sure to address them as Mr. or Ms., followed by their last name. If you’re not sure about their gender or marital status, you can just stick to their full name, like so:

  • Dear Mr. Kurtuy,
  • Dear Andrei Kurtuy,

But what if you still can’t find the hiring manager’s name, no matter where you look?

No worries. You can direct your cover letter to the company, department, or team as a whole, or just skip the hiring manager’s name.

  • Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear [Department] Team
  • Dear [Company Name]

Are you applying for a research position? Learn how to write an academic personal statement .

#4. Write an Eye-Catching Introduction

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your job search.

Hiring managers get hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of applications. Chances are, they’re not going to be reading every single cover letter end-to-end.

So, it’s essential to catch their attention from the very first paragraph.

The biggest problem with most opening paragraphs is that they’re usually extremely generic. Here’s an example:

  • My name is Jonathan, and I’d like to work as a Sales Manager at XYZ Inc. I’ve worked as a Sales Manager at MadeUpCompany Inc. for 5+ years, so I believe that I’d be a good fit for the position.

See the issue here? This opening paragraph doesn’t say anything except the fact that you’ve worked the job before.

And do you know who else has similar work experience? All the other applicants you’re competing with.

Instead, you want to start with some of your top achievements to grab the reader’s attention. And to get the point across, the achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position.

Your opening paragraph should also show the hiring manager a bit about why you want this specific job. For example, mention how the job relates to your plans for the future or how it can help you grow professionally. This will show the hiring manager that you’re not just applying left and right—you’re actually enthusiastic about getting this particular role.

Now, let’s make our previous example shine:

Dear Mr. Smith,

My name’s Michael, and I’d like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed its sales goals as a Sales Manager. I’ve worked as a Sales Representative with Company X, another fin-tech company , for 3+ years, where I generated an average of $30,000+ in sales per month and beat the KPIs by around 40%. I believe that my previous industry experience, passion for finance , and excellence in sales make me the right candidate for the job.

The second candidate starts with what they can do for the company in the future and immediately lists an impressive and relevant achievement. Since they’re experienced in the same industry and interested in finance, the hiring manager can see they’re not just a random applicant.

From this introduction, it’s safe to say that the hiring manager would read the rest of this candidate’s cover letter.

#5. Use the Cover Letter Body for Details

The next part of your cover letter is where you can go into detail about what sets you apart as a qualified candidate for the job.

The main thing you need to remember here is that you shouldn’t make it all about yourself . Your cover letter is supposed to show the hiring manager how you relate to the job and the company you’re applying to.

No matter how cool you make yourself sound in your cover letter, if you don’t tailor it to match what the hiring manager is looking for, you’re not getting an interview.

To get this right, use the job ad as a reference when writing your cover letter. Make sure to highlight skills and achievements that match the job requirements, and you’re good to go.

Since this part of your cover letter is by far the longest, you should split it into at least two paragraphs.

Here’s what each paragraph should cover:

Explain Why You’re the Perfect Candidate for the Role

Before you can show the hiring manager that you’re exactly what they’ve been looking for, you need to know what it is they’re looking for.

Start by doing a bit of research. Learn what the most important skills and responsibilities of the role are according to the job ad, and focus on any relevant experience you have that matches them.

For example, if you’re applying for the position of a Facebook Advertiser. The top requirements on the job ad are:

  • Experience managing a Facebook ad budget of $10,000+ / month
  • Some skills in advertising on other platforms (Google Search + Twitter)
  • Excellent copywriting skills

So, in the body of your cover letter, you need to show how you meet these requirements. Here’s an example of what that can look like:

In my previous role as a Facebook Marketing Expert at XYZ Inc. I handled customer acquisition through ads, managing a monthly Facebook ad budget of $40,000+ . As the sole digital marketer at the company, I managed the ad creation and management process end-to-end. I created the ad copy and images, picked the targeting, ran optimization trials, and so on.

Other than Facebook advertising, I’ve also delved into other online PPC channels, including:

  • Google Search

Our example addresses all the necessary requirements and shows off the candidate’s relevant skills.

Are you a student applying for your first internship? Learn how to write an internship cover letter with our dedicated guide.

Explain Why You’re a Good Fit for the Company

As skilled and experienced as you may be, that’s not all the hiring manager is looking for.

They also want someone who’s a good fit for their company and who actually wants to work there.

Employees who don’t fit in with the company culture are likely to quit sooner or later. This ends up costing the company a ton of money, up to 50% of the employee’s annual salary , so hiring managers vet candidates very carefully to avoid this scenario.

So, you have to convince the hiring manager that you’re passionate about working with them.

Start by doing some research about the company. You want to know things like:

  • What’s the company’s business model?
  • What’s the company’s product or service? Have you used it?
  • What’s the company’s culture like?

Chances are, you’ll find all the information you need either on the company website or on job-search websites like Jobscan or Glassdoor.

Then, pick your favorite thing about the company and talk about it in your cover letter.

But don’t just describe the company in its own words just to flatter them. Be super specific—the hiring manager can see through any fluff.

For example, if you’re passionate about their product and you like the company’s culture of innovation and independent work model, you can write something like:

I’ve personally used the XYZ Smartphone, and I believe that it’s the most innovative tech I’ve used in years. The features, such as Made-Up-Feature #1 and Made-Up-Feature #2, were real game changers for the device.

I really admire how Company XYZ strives for excellence in all its product lines, creating market-leading tech. As someone who thrives in a self-driven environment, I truly believe that I’ll be a great match for your Product Design team.

So, make sure to do your fair share of research and come up with good reasons why you're applying to that specific company.

Is the company you want to work for not hiring at the moment? Check out our guide to writing a letter of interest .

#6. Wrap It Up and Sign It

Finally, it’s time to conclude your cover letter.

In the final paragraph, you want to:

  • Wrap up any points you couldn't make in the previous paragraphs. Do you have anything left to say? If there’s any other information that could help the hiring manager make their decision, mention it here. If not, just recap your key selling points so far, such as key skills and expertise.
  • Express gratitude. Politely thanking the hiring manager for their time is always a good idea.
  • Finish the cover letter with a call to action. The very last sentence in your cover letter should be a call to action. This means you should ask the hiring manager to do something, like call you and discuss your application or arrange an interview.
  • Remember to sign your cover letter. Just add a formal closing line and sign your name at the bottom.

Here’s an example of how to end your cover letter :

I hope to help Company X make the most of their Facebook marketing initiatives. I'd love to further discuss how my previous success at XYZ Inc. can help you achieve your Facebook marketing goals. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at the provided email address or phone number so that we may arrange an interview.

Thank you for your consideration,

Alice Richards

Feel free to use one of these other popular closing lines for your cover letter:

  • Best Regards,
  • Kind Regards,

Cover Letter Writing Checklist

Once you’re done with your cover letter, it’s time to check if it meets all industry requirements. 

Give our handy cover letter writing checklist a look to make sure:

Does your cover letter heading include all essential information?

  • Professional Email
  • Phone Number
  • Relevant Links

Do you address the right person? 

  • The hiring manager in the company
  • Your future direct supervisor
  • The company/department in general

Does your introductory paragraph grab the reader's attention?

  • Did you mention some of your top achievements?
  • Did you use numbers and facts to back up your experience?
  • Did you convey enthusiasm for the specific role?

Do you show that you’re the right candidate for the job?

  • Did you identify the core requirements for the role?
  • Did you show how your experiences helped you fit the requirements perfectly?

Do you convince the hiring manager that you’re passionate about the company you’re applying to?

  • Did you identify the top 3 things that you like about the company?
  • Did you avoid generic reasons for explaining your interest in the company?

Did you conclude your cover letter properly?

  • Did you recap your key selling points in the conclusion?
  • Did you end your cover letter with a call to action?
  • Did you use the right formal closing line and sign your name?

15 Cover Letter Tips

Now you’re all set to write your cover letter! 

Before you start typing, here are some cover letter tips to help take your cover letter to the next level:

  • Customize Your Cover Letter for Each Job. Make sure your cover letter is tailored to the job you're applying for. This shows you're not just sending generic applications left and right, and it tells the hiring manager you’re the right person for the job.
  • Showcase Your Skills. Talk about how your skills meet the company’s needs. And while your hard skills should be front and center, you shouldn’t underestimate your soft skills in your cover letter either.
  • Avoid Fluff. Don’t make any generic statements you can’t back up. The hiring manager can tell when you’re just throwing words around, and it doesn’t make your cover letter look good.
  • Use Specific Examples. Instead of saying you're great at something, give an actual example to back up your claim. Any data you can provide makes you sound more credible, so quantify your achievements. For example, give numbers such as percentages related to your performance and the timeframe it took to accomplish certain achievements.
  • Research the Company. Always take time to learn about the company you're applying to. Make sure to mention something about them in your cover letter to show the hiring manager that you're interested.
  • Follow the Application Instructions. If the job posting asks for something specific in your cover letter or requires a certain format, make sure you include it. Not following instructions can come off as unattentive or signal to the hiring manager that you’re not taking the job seriously.
  • Use the Right Template and Format. Choose the right cover letter format and adapt your cover letter’s look to the industry you’re applying for. For example, if you’re aiming for a job in Law or Finance, you should go for a cleaner, more professional look. But if you’re applying for a field that values innovation, like IT or Design, you have more room for creativity.
  • Express Your Enthusiasm. Let the hiring manager know why you're excited about the job. Your passion for the specific role or the field in general can be a big selling point, and show them that you’re genuinely interested, not just applying left and right.
  • Address Any Gaps. If there are any employment gaps in your resume , your cover letter is a great place to mention why. Your resume doesn’t give you enough space to elaborate on an employment gap, so addressing it here can set hiring managers at ease—life happens, and employers understand.
  • Avoid Quirky Emails. Your email address should be presentable. It’s hard for a hiring manager to take you seriously if your email address is “[email protected].” Just use a [email protected] format.
  • Check Your Contact Information. Typos in your email address or phone number can mean a missed opportunity. Double-check these before sending your application.
  • Mention if You Want to Relocate. If you’re looking for a job that lets you move somewhere else, specify this in your cover letter.
  • Keep It Brief. You want to keep your cover letter short and sweet. Hiring managers don’t have time to read a novel, so if you go over one page, they simply won’t read it at all.
  • Use a Professional Tone. Even though a conversational tone isn’t a bad thing, remember that it's still a formal document. Show professionalism in your cover letter by keeping slang, jargon, and emojis out of it.
  • Proofread Carefully. Typos and grammar mistakes are a huge deal-breaker. Use a tool like Grammarly or QuillBot to double-check your spelling and grammar, or even get a friend to check it for you.

15+ Cover Letter Examples

Need some inspiration? Check out some perfect cover letter examples for different experience levels and various professions.

5+ Cover Letter Examples by Experience

#1. college student cover letter example.

college or student cover letter example

Check out our full guide to writing a college student cover letter here.

#2. Middle Management Cover Letter Example

Middle Management Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a project manager cover letter here.

#3. Team Leader Cover Letter Example

Team Leader Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a team leader cover letter here.

#4. Career Change Cover Letter Example

Career Change Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to a career change resume and cover letter here.

#5. Management Cover Letter Example

Management Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a management cover letter here.

#6. Senior Executive Cover Letter Example

Senior Executive Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing an executive resume here.

9+ Cover Letter Examples by Profession

#1. it cover letter example.

IT Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing an IT cover letter here.

#2. Consultant Cover Letter Example

Consultant Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a consultant cover letter here.

#3. Human Resources Cover Letter

Human Resources Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a human resources cover letter here.

#4. Business Cover Letter Example

Business Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a business cover letter here.

#5. Sales Cover Letter Example

Sales Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a sales cover letter here.

#6. Social Worker Cover Letter

Social Worker Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a social worker cover letter here.

#7. Lawyer Cover Letter

Lawyer Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a lawyer cover letter here.

#8. Administrative Assistant Cover Letter

Administrative Assistant Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing an administrative assistant cover letter here.

#9. Engineering Cover Letter Example

Engineering Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing an engineer cover letter here.

#10. Receptionist Cover Letter Example

Receptionist Cover Letter Example

Check out our full guide to writing a receptionist cover letter here.

Need more inspiration? Check out these cover letter examples to learn what makes them stand out.

Plug & Play Cover Letter Template

Not sure how to start your cover letter? Don’t worry!

Just copy and paste our free cover letter template into the cover letter builder, and swap out the blanks for your details.

[Your Full Name]

[Your Profession]

[Your Phone Number]

[Your Email Address]

[Your Location]

[Your LinkedIn Profile URL (optional)]

[Your Personal Website URL (optional)]

[Recipient's Name, e.g., Jane Doe],

[Recipient's Position, e.g., Hiring Manager]

[Company Name, e.g., ABC Corporation]

[Company Address]

[City, State/Country]

Dear [Recipient's Name],

As a seasoned [Your Profession] with [Number of Years of Experience] years of industry experience, I am eager to express my interest in the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. With my experience in [Your Industry/Sector] and the successes I've achieved throughout my education and career, I believe I can bring unique value and creativity to your team.

In my current role as [Your Current Job Title], I've taken the lead on more than [Number of Projects/Assignments] projects, some valued up to $[Highest Project Value]. I pride myself on consistently exceeding client expectations and have successfully [Mention a Key Achievement] in just a [Amount of Time] through [Skill] and [Skill].

I've collaborated with various professionals, such as [List Roles], ensuring that all [projects/tasks] meet [relevant standards or objectives]. This hands-on experience, coupled with my dedication to understanding each [client's/customer's] vision, has equipped me to navigate and deliver on complex projects.

My key strengths include:

  • Improving [Achievement] by [%] over [Amount of Time] which resulted in [Quantified Result].
  • Optimizing [Work Process/Responsibility] which saved [Previous Employer] [Amount of Time/Budget/Other Metric] over [Weeks/Months/Years]
  • Spearheading team of [Number of People] to [Task] and achieving [Quantified Result].

Alongside this letter, I've attached my resume. My educational background, a [Your Degree] with a concentration in [Your Specialization], complements the practical skills that I'm particularly eager to share with [Company Name].

I'm excited about the possibility of contributing to [Something Notable About the Company or Its Mission]. I'd be grateful for the chance to delve deeper into how my expertise aligns with your needs.

Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

The Heart of Your Job Search - Creating a Killer Resume

Your cover letter is only as good as your resume. If either one is weak, your entire application falls through.

After all, your cover letter is meant to complement your resume. Imagine going through all this effort to leave an amazing first impression in your cover letter, only for the hiring manager to never read it because your resume was mediocre.

But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered here, too.

Check out our dedicated guide on how to make a resume and learn everything you need to know to land your dream job!

Just pick one of our resume templates and start writing your own job-winning resume.

resume examples for cover letters

Key Takeaways

Now that we’ve walked you through all the steps of writing a cover letter, let’s summarize everything we’ve learned:

  • A cover letter is a 250 - 400 word document that’s meant to convince the hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for the job.
  • Your job application should always include a cover letter alongside your resume.
  • To grab the hiring manager’s attention, write a strong opening paragraph. Mention who you are, why you’re applying, and a standout achievement to pique their interest.
  • Your cover letter should focus on why you’re the perfect candidate for the job and why you’re passionate about working in this specific company.
  • Use the body of your cover letter to provide details on your skills, achievements, and qualifications, as well as make sure to convey your enthusiasm throughout your whole cover letter.
  • Recap your key selling points towards the end of your cover letter, and end it with a formal closing line and your full name signed underneath.

At Novorésumé, we’re committed to helping you get the job you deserve every step of the way! 

Follow our career blog for more valuable advice, or check out some of our top guides, such as:

  • How to Make a Resume in 2024 | Beginner's Guide
  • How to Write a CV (Curriculum Vitae) in 2024 [31+ Examples]
  • 35+ Job Interview Questions and Answers [Full List]

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How to Write a Cover Letter That Will Get You a Job

Portrait of Alison Green

I’ve read thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of cover letters in my career. If you’re thinking that sounds like really boring reading, you’re right. What I can tell you from enduring that experience is that most cover letters are terrible — and not only that, but squandered opportunities. When a cover letter is done well, it can significantly increase your chances of getting an interview, but the vast majority fail that test.

So let’s talk about how to do cover letters right.

1. First, understand the point of a cover letter.

The whole idea of a cover letter is that it can help the employer see you as more than just your résumé. Managers generally aren’t hiring based solely on your work history; your experience is crucial, yes, but they’re also looking for someone who will be easy to work with, shows good judgment, communicates well, possesses strong critical thinking skills and a drive to get things done, complements their current team, and all the other things you yourself probably want from your co-workers. It’s tough to learn much about those things from job history alone, and that’s where your cover letter comes in.

Because of that …

2. Whatever you do, don’t just summarize your résumé.

The No. 1 mistake people make with cover letters is that they simply use them to summarize their résumé. This makes no sense — hiring managers don’t need a summary of your résumé! It’s on the very next page! They’re about to see it as soon as they scroll down. And if you think about it, your entire application is only a few pages (in most cases, a one- or two-page résumé and a one-page cover letter) — why would you squander one of those pages by repeating the content of the others? And yet, probably 95 percent of the cover letters I see don’t add anything new beyond the résumé itself (and that’s a conservative estimate).

Instead, your cover letter should go beyond your work history to talk about things that make you especially well-suited for the job. For example, if you’re applying for an assistant job that requires being highly organized and you neurotically track your household finances in a detailed, color-coded spreadsheet, most hiring managers would love to know that because it says something about the kind of attention to detail you’d bring to the job. That’s not something you could put on your résumé, but it can go in your cover letter.

Or maybe your last boss told you that you were the most accurate data processor she’d ever seen, or came to rely on you as her go-to person whenever a lightning-fast rewrite was needed. Maybe your co-workers called you “the client whisperer” because of your skill in calming upset clients. Maybe you’re regularly sought out by more senior staff to help problem-solve, or you find immense satisfaction in bringing order to chaos. Those sorts of details illustrate what you bring to the job in a different way than your résumé does, and they belong in your cover letter.

If you’re still stumped, pretend you’re writing an email to a friend about why you’d be great at the job. You probably wouldn’t do that by stiffly reciting your work history, right? You’d talk about what you’re good at and how you’d approach the work. That’s what you want here.

3. You don’t need a creative opening line.

If you think you need to open the letter with something creative or catchy, I am here to tell you that you don’t. Just be simple and straightforward:

• “I’m writing to apply for your X position.”

• “I’d love to be considered for your X position.”

• “I’m interested in your X position because …”

• “I’m excited to apply for your X position.”

That’s it! Straightforward is fine — better, even, if the alternative is sounding like an aggressive salesperson.

4. Show, don’t tell.

A lot of cover letters assert that the person who wrote it would excel at the job or announce that the applicant is a skillful engineer or a great communicator or all sorts of other subjective superlatives. That’s wasted space — the hiring manager has no reason to believe it, and so many candidates claim those things about themselves that most managers ignore that sort of self-assessment entirely. So instead of simply declaring that you’re great at X (whatever X is), your letter should demonstrate that. And the way you do that is by describing accomplishments and experiences that illustrate it.

Here’s a concrete example taken from one extraordinarily effective cover-letter makeover that I saw. The candidate had originally written, “I offer exceptional attention to detail, highly developed communication skills, and a talent for managing complex projects with a demonstrated ability to prioritize and multitask.” That’s pretty boring and not especially convincing, right? (This is also exactly how most people’s cover letters read.)

In her revised version, she wrote this instead:

“In addition to being flexible and responsive, I’m also a fanatic for details — particularly when it comes to presentation. One of my recent projects involved coordinating a 200-page grant proposal: I proofed and edited the narratives provided by the division head, formatted spreadsheets, and generally made sure that every line was letter-perfect and that the entire finished product conformed to the specific guidelines of the RFP. (The result? A five-year, $1.5 million grant award.) I believe in applying this same level of attention to detail to tasks as visible as prepping the materials for a top-level meeting and as mundane as making sure the copier never runs out of paper.”

That second version is so much more compelling and interesting — and makes me believe that she really is great with details.

things to say in your cover letter

5. If there’s anything unusual or confusing about your candidacy, address it in the letter.

Your cover letter is your chance to provide context for things that otherwise might seem confusing or less than ideal to a hiring manager. For example, if you’re overqualified for the position but are excited about it anyway, or if you’re a bit underqualified but have reason to think you could excel at the job, address that up front. Or if your background is in a different field but you’re actively working to move into this one, say so, talk about why, and explain how your experience will translate. Or if you’re applying for a job across the country from where you live because you’re hoping to relocate to be closer to your family, let them know that.

If you don’t provide that kind of context, it’s too easy for a hiring manager to decide you’re the wrong fit or applying to everything you see or don’t understand the job description and put you in the “no” pile. A cover letter gives you a chance to say, “No, wait — here’s why this could be a good match.”

6. Keep the tone warm and conversational.

While there are some industries that prize formal-sounding cover letters — like law — in most fields, yours will stand out if it’s warm and conversational. Aim for the tone you’d use if you were writing to a co-worker whom you liked a lot but didn’t know especially well. It’s okay to show some personality or even use humor; as long as you don’t go overboard, your letter will be stronger for it.

7. Don’t use a form letter.

You don’t need to write every cover letter completely from scratch, but if you’re not customizing it to each job, you’re doing it wrong. Form letters tend to read like form letters, and they waste the chance to speak to the specifics of what this employer is looking for and what it will take to thrive in this particular job.

If you’re applying for a lot of similar jobs, of course you’ll end up reusing language from one letter to the next. But you shouldn’t have a single cover letter that you wrote once and then use every time you apply; whatever you send should sound like you wrote it with the nuances of this one job in mind.

A good litmus test is this: Could you imagine other applicants for this job sending in the same letter? If so, that’s a sign that you haven’t made it individualized enough to you and are probably leaning too heavily on reciting your work history.

8. No, you don’t need to hunt down the hiring manager’s name.

If you read much job-search advice, at some point you’ll come across the idea that you need to do Woodward and Bernstein–level research to hunt down the hiring manager’s name in order to open your letter with “Dear Matilda Jones.” You don’t need to do this; no reasonable hiring manager will care. If the name is easily available, by all means, feel free to use it, but otherwise “Dear Hiring Manager” is absolutely fine. Take the hour you just freed up and do something more enjoyable with it.

9. Keep it under one page.

If your cover letters are longer than a page, you’re writing too much, and you risk annoying hiring managers who are likely sifting through hundreds of applications and don’t have time to read lengthy tomes. On the other hand, if you only write one paragraph, it’s unlikely that you’re making a compelling case for yourself as a candidate — not impossible, but unlikely. For most people, something close to a page is about right.

10. Don’t agonize over the small details.

What matters most about your cover letter is its content. You should of course ensure that it’s well-written and thoroughly proofread, but many job seekers agonize over elements of the letter that really don’t matter. I get tons of  questions from job seekers  about whether they should attach their cover letter or put it in the body of the email (answer: No one cares, but attaching it makes it easier to share and will preserve your formatting), or what to name the file (again, no one really cares as long as it’s reasonably professional, but when people are dealing with hundreds of files named “resume,” it’s courteous to name it with your full name).

Approaching your cover letter like this can make a huge difference in your job search. It can be the thing that moves your application from the “maybe” pile (or even the “no” pile) to the “yes” pile. Of course, writing cover letters like this will take more time than sending out the same templated letter summarizing your résumé — but 10 personalized, compelling cover letters are likely to get you more  interview invitations  than 50 generic ones will.

Find even more career advice from Alison Green on her website,  Ask a Manager . Got a question for her? Email  [email protected] .

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StandOut CV

What to include in a cover letter

Andrew Fennell photo

A well-written cover letter is the key to capturing the attention of employers and encouraging them to read your CV so that you can secure job interviews.

However, it’s tricky to know exactly what to include in a cover letter.

What essential information should you incorporate to impress recruiters?

This article shows you everything you need to include in your cover letter to be successful in your application, plus three cover letter examples.

CV templates 

What is a cover letter?

Before we begin, it’s important to know exactly what a cover letter is and why it’s paramount.

Knowing these two things will make it easier to write a standout cover letter that catches the attention of employers.

Your cover letter is a friendly introduction that you send together with your CV to would-be employers and recruiters.

It’s a way to say hi, express your interest in the position, and get them excited about your CV .

What to include in cover letter

Your cover letter needs to entice hiring managers and recruiters.

Here’s the essential information that you will need to include in order to do that.

Start by addressing the hiring manager

Cover letter address

You will need to begin your cover letter by addressing the person handling the job post to build a rapport with them.

Make sure your greeting is amicable yet professional – don’t make it sound too laidback or unduly formal.

For example, you could address the hiring manager by saying:

  • Hi [Insert recruiter’s name]
  • Hi [Insert department/team name]

To locate the person’s name, you can sometimes find it on the company’s website by going to the “About” page. Search for names such as the hiring manager, internal recruiter or someone from HR. Then use their name in your cover letter.

Alternatively, you can find their name by quickly searching for the company on LinkedIn. You’ll then see a list of employees and most will have LinkedIn profiles . This is a great way to find the correct name.

Include a friendly greeting

When you’re putting together your cover letter , you will need to include a friendly greeting. This shows that you’re someone who can converse well and connect with others.

However, if your friendly greeting is too casual and overly friendly, it won’t look that professional.

On the flip side, if it’s extremely formal and doesn’t have much personal warmth, you may come across as socially distant.

So, aim to be both professional and approachable. For example, begin with a friendly greeting such as, “I hope you’re doing well.”

And don’t forget – your spelling and grammar need to be spot on in your cover letter. Typos and mistakes won’t impress recruiters.

Specify the job you’re applying for

So, you’ve greeted and warmed up the hiring manager with a friendly opening – great.

Next, you need to get to the point and tell the recruiter which position you’re applying for.

You could say:

Include role name in cover letter

Don’t forget – some hiring managers handle numerous job vacancies , so be as precise as you can.

Explain why you’re the best candidate for the position

In the main part of your cover letter describe why you’re suitable for the position in around 3-6 sentences. This is what will encourage the recruiter or hiring manager to explore your CV.

This section gives you a golden opportunity to emphasise what makes you perfect for the position – you must give recruiters a quick overview of your skills , experience, and knowledge.

But, more importantly, connect these skills directly to the requirements of the role you’re applying for.

And don’t be shy – share your achievements to show why you’re the ideal applicant. These are accomplishments and skills you can bring to the company – they prove why you’re a great fit.

Here are some examples of how you can mention your achievements in your cover letter:

  • Project manager – “I’ve successfully managed complicated projects, boosting efficiency by 40% and finishing them well before the deadline.”
  • Teaching position – “I am passionate about the subject of maths and have been teaching the secondary curriculum for over 10 years. I run the after-school maths sessions, and have acted as head of maths for Bentley Secondary School for the past two years – achieving excellent results for both students and the school alike.”
  • Sales position – “In conjunction with my ability to create and deliver long-term sales and marketing strategies in a pressurised environment, I am also multilingual with the ability to speak English, Russian, and Spanish to high standards.”

Conclude and discuss availability

In your final paragraph , say when you’re available for an interview .

For instance, you could say:

“I’m available for an interview at your earliest convenience,” or “I am available for interviewing from 10 th July.”

This communicates your flexibility and enthusiasm and it’s an excellent way to end your cover letter on a high note.

To wrap up your cover letter, include a friendly salutation like “Regards” or “Kind regards”. Not only does this show you’re courteous and have excellent email etiquette, but it also leaves an approachable, positive impression on the recruiter reviewing your application.

End with a formal sign-off

Add a professional signature at the bottom to give recruiters your important contact details.

As well as providing them with various ways to get in touch with you, it also looks extremely professional and demonstrates that you know how to converse in the working environment .

Your professional signature should include:

  • Your full name – This helps hiring managers identify who you are.
  • Your phone number – Give the contact number employers can reach you on. Ensure it’s working and accurate so that would-be employers can get hold of you during the recruitment process.
  • Your email address – Share a professional email address but avoid using excessively casual or unprofessional email addresses like [email protected] or [email protected] .

Optionally, you could include:

  • Your professional title – For example, Key Stage 2 Teacher or Account Manager .
  • Your professional social network – For example, LinkedIn.

Email signatures in cover letter

5 tips for writing a successful cover letter

Here are five tips for writing a cover letter that packs a punch.

Keep it succinct

To ensure hiring managers and recruiters actually look at your cover letter, keep it short and concise.

They’re often incredibly busy people, and receive hundreds of cover letters daily, so aim to make yours between 3 and 6 sentences to hold their attention.

Your cover letter’s job is to engage their interest and make them want to review your CV – it serves as an introduction to the potential employer, demonstrating how suitable you are for the role.

But save the more exhaustive details for your CV.

Read the job advert thoroughly

Before creating your cover letter, you must know what the employer is searching for in candidates. Spend some time reading the job advert thoroughly and ascertain the key responsibilities they’re looking for.

Pay particular attention to hard skills such as specific languages, industry experience, and computer programming.

You don’t need to highlight soft skills such as teamwork or problem-solving because these are standard in many jobs and won’t give you much of an edge over other applicants.

When you know what the recruiter is specifically looking for in a successful applicant, you can present these qualities as you write your cover letter.

Job advert keywords in cover letter

Mention your relevant skills

You want recruiters to notice your CV, right? So show them how your skills and experience match the job requirements.

Begin by carefully scanning the job ad to identify the most significant skills they’re seeking.

Next, describe how your previous experiences have prepared you for these. Be sure to mention any requirements that are absolutely necessary for the job.

Don’t forget – concentrate on what suitable skills you can bring to the table rather than what you want.

For instance, if you’re applying for a marketing role and the job advert specifies you need to be “ excellent at implementing marketing strategie s”, you could say something like:

Mention your relevant skills

State why you’re applying

Recruiters will want to know why you’re applying for the job. So always address this in your cover letter.

Your motivation for applying should be positive and signify your dedication to the recruiter or hiring manager.

For instance, say something like, “After working as a Senior Manager for five years at my current company, I’m keen to take on a larger team in a more specialised market.”

Refrain from negative reasons such as, “ My previous company let me go, and I’m looking for a new position immediately .”

Concentrate on your incentive for applying and what you can offer the employer.

Highlight what you’ve accomplished for employers

If you’re an experienced applicant with a lengthy employment history, it’s best to allude to the results you’ve delivered for your existing or previous employers.

For example, mention things like:

  • Attracting new clients – Explain how you’ve introduced new business opportunities or expanded the customer base through successful outreach, relationship building or marketing.
  • Saving money – State how you have reduced costs, optimised budgets or introduced economic strategies that resulted in savings for the company.
  • Enhancing processes – Mention how you simplified operations, boosted workflow, or implemented new ways to boost productivity within the company.
  • Making successful sales – Share how you surpassed sales targets, landed noteworthy contracts or always contributed to revenue growth.

In your cover letter, give a snappy overview to keep things succinct. Save the nitty-gritty info for your CV.

3 cover letter samples

To give you some inspiration and ideas for what to include in your cover letter, here are three examples.

Student cover letter example

Students still studying at school or university usually write slightly lengthier cover letters because they may lack work experience. This enables them to concentrate on explaining their education and transferable skills.

Student cover letter

Internal promotion cover letter example

You would use this type of cover letter when you’re already working at an organisation and wish to apply for a new role within the same company.

Here, you can present your qualifications, enthusiasm and achievements to showcase why you’re perfect for the position.

Internal promotion cover letter

Experienced candidate cover letter example

If you have more employment history to share, this example will help you see how to showcase your skills and experience to stand out in your job application.

Experienced candidate cover letter

What not to include in a cover letter

Here are five things you should never include in your cover letter:

  • Salary expectations – Never mention your salary expectations . It’s best to talk about this later on in the recruitment process.
  • Personal info – Avoid sharing your home address, age or marital status. This information isn’t relevant to your job application and may lead to discrimination concerns.
  • Embellishments or dishonesties – Never include made-up previous job roles or qualifications that you don’t actually possess. Doing so can put you in an awkward situation.
  • Dear Sir or Madam – Start your cover letter with a friendly “Hi” instead, as the former is a dated greeting that lacks a personal touch.
  • Typos – Never include grammatical errors in your cover letter as these can hurt your professionalism. Always proofread your cover letter and make sure it’s written, and error-free.

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  • Resume and Cover Letter
  • Essential Cover Letter...

Essential Cover Letter Elements for Job Success

11 min read · Updated on April 17, 2024

Marsha Hebert

The cover letter you write for a job has to complement your resume, not reiterate it.

There is a common misconception that cover letters for a job have gone the way of the do-do. The fact is that hiring managers use cover letters quite frequently to determine the potential success of a job applicant in a new position. 

When you write a cover letter that complements your resume, you open the door to a couple of things:

You get to inject some personality into your application

You can explain any faux pas that may show up in your resume, like employment gaps

With that said, what should you write in your cover letter? Let's talk about the essential cover letter elements that you'll need to consider for job search success. 

Related reading: Do Hiring Managers Actually Read Cover Letters?

Things to consider as you write your cover letter for a job

When you write a cover letter for a job opening, you're not supposed to simply regurgitate what's already on the resume. No one wants to read the same thing twice. Instead, use the cover letter to 

Talk about how your personality aligns with the company culture

Mention how you learned about the job – this provides an excellent opportunity for you to bring up whether you were referred to the job and do some name-dropping

Emphasize how much you know about the company by talking about what you've learned during your research to exclaim that you're excited to be a part of their team

You already know that your resume is your first chance to make a great  impression on a company. The cover letter you write for a job does the same thing. So, be sure to highlight your relevant skills and experiences with a personalized and detailed explanation of your qualifications. 

How to write a cover letter – some rules

As with anything you submit to a prospective employer, there are some best practices to follow. For the cover letter, rule number one is that it should be written like a formal business letter , using this structure:

Your contact information – Lay this part out the same way you have it formatted on your resume. 

Recipient information – The name of the company and its location 

Salutation – “Dear Hiring Manager,” but try to use a person's name, if possible

Paragraph 1 – Your introduction to the hiring manager and  why you're reaching out

Paragraph 2 – Detail why you're a great match for the job and explain any issues that you may see that could cause the hiring manager to be concerned about your candidacy

Paragraph 3 – You could opt to use bullets or a paragraph here, but your goal is to emphasize career achievements that make you the best fit for the job

Call to action – Your final paragraph – it's less a paragraph and more a blurb – should encourage the hiring manager to reach out to you to schedule an interview

A template you can use for the cover letter you write for a job

If you're a visual person, it may help for all of that to be put into something more tangible. Here's a good example of a cover letter:


Location | (111) 222-3333 | [email protected] | LinkedIn URL


April 1, 2024

Company Name

RE: Job Title/Reference Code

Dear Hiring Manager: (Try to use a person's name, if possible)

The first paragraph of your cover letter introduces yourself and briefly touches on how you can benefit the company. In everything you write, you must always talk about how you'll be of use to the company. You can even include how confident you are that you'll be an immediate asset. 

The second paragraph will discuss two or three things you've accomplished in your career. A common way to start this paragraph is with the words, “In my current role, …” Keep all paragraphs of your cover letter between 3 and 5 sentences. 

If you really have MAJOR accomplishments to call out, you can add a bulleted list.

MAJOR accomplishment one.

MAJOR accomplishment two.

MAJOR accomplishment three.

End with something like: “I look forward to meeting with you so that we can further discuss how my talents match what you seek.”

How to write a cover letter for a job – step-by-step guide

As you work your way through the steps below, refer to the template so you can have a visual of what the outcome looks like. 

The header of your cover letter for a job

The best way to get a cover letter with the right header is to open your resume. Click File and then Save As so you can save the resume as a cover letter. Then, delete everything beneath the contact information and title section of the resume. Now, you'll have a blank document with a header that you can use to write your cover letter

All you'll need to do is add in the date and recipient information. If you're using MS Word, you can insert the date so that it automatically updates with the new date when the file is opened. However, this is not a requirement. Just make sure that your cover letter is properly dated.

The greeting/salutation of your cover letter for a job

For the love of all things great on this planet, you should avoid writing “To Whom It May Concern.” It's outdated and has a very high cringe factor. Do a bit of due diligence and look for the hiring manager's name. The best place to find the name you need is on the job description. 

Sometimes, it'll be way at the bottom. If not, then head to LinkedIn and search for the company that you're applying to. When their page pops up, click on the number of employees that have LinkedIn profiles to get to the list and scroll through until you find the manager's name. 

Related reading: How to Use LinkedIn to Get a Job

If you absolutely cannot find a person's name, then use “Dear Hiring Manager.”

Paragraph one of your cover letter for a job

Remember, this is only an introduction paragraph – how you know about the job, why you want the job, and why you're interested. It's the shortest paragraph of your cover letter for a job, sometimes coming in at only two to three sentences. Write it in a way that makes them want to keep reading.

“As an experienced research and development scientist with exposure to product development, quality assurance testing, safety, and environmental protection standards, I am an ideal candidate for your *Job Title* opening. Having progressed through a series of laboratory-based projects spanning 10 years where I've integrated protocols and presented findings to medical and scientific professionals, I am excited to become a valuable member of the *Company Name* team.”

Be sure to customize the job title and company name every time you send out the cover letter for a job listing. 

Paragraph two of your cover letter for a job

This is the time to explain in detail why you're a great fit for the role. Just like you did when you wrote your resume, take some keywords from the job description and weave them into the cover letter – specifically into this paragraph. Remember, you're attempting to add value to what they've already learned about you in the resume.

“My passion and energy allow me to approach each role with dedication and enthusiasm while maintaining balance with the organization's core mission. Comfortable in collaborative and independently-driven roles, I am a future-focused leader with refined analytical and critical thinking skills. I am a strong communicator with natural interpersonal strengths that drive me to engage with my peers and other stakeholders to both identify needs and develop problem resolutions”

You should include a balanced mix of hard and soft skills so that your cover letter properly relays that you have what it takes to succeed in the position.

Related reading: What Are Skills? (With Examples and Tips on How to Improve Them)

Paragraph three of your cover letter for a job

Again, you can use another paragraph for this part of your cover letter, or you can use bullet points. Bullet points are a great way to add white space in your cover letter, allowing the hiring manager to quickly assess your value as a job seeker. 

Whether your decision is to write a paragraph or bullets, you should add some quantifiable achievements to this part of your cover letter. Hiring managers are able to assess your future value based on past accomplishments. 

“Further, I would bring the following strengths to your team:

  • In my last role, I designed 3 new medical devices, formulated ideas for 6 new products, and worked with a team to come up with methodologies for treating 12 new ailments.
  • I apply GxP standards in all projects and am well-versed in GCP, GLP, GMP, and CCLP protocols. I am also extremely dedicated to stringent compliance with federal regulations governing research and development, having improved compliance by 15% in my last role.
  • I am fiercely committed to continuing education and staying abreast of modern scientific developments and standards of excellence. I am 9 credit hours from completing my Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Toledo and have completed over 40 hours of graduate-level coursework from MIT, in addition to my Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine education.”

Did you notice how that last bullet mentions that the candidate isn't quite finished with their education? This point was made to explain away the unfinished degree listed on her resume and is what we meant when we said that cover letters can be used to explain any information gaps in your resume. 

Related reading: How to Track Your Work Accomplishments Throughout the Year

The call-to-action and closing for your cover letter for a job

The main point of writing a cover letter and resume to apply for a job is to get an interview. Just like the first paragraph, this doesn't have to be a long and drawn-out message. Thank the hiring manager for reviewing your application and letting them know how to get in touch with you to schedule a meeting. Then, close the letter with your signature.

“I look forward to meeting with you where we can discuss my background and your needs in detail. Thank you for your time and kind consideration.

Your Name”

Some do's and don'ts

Knowing the right way to put together a cover letter for a job is only part of the picture. You also have to follow certain standards to ensure that the hiring manager will actually take the time to read the letter you've submitted. 

1. Don't restate your entire resume

The recruiter already has your resume, so there's no need to rehash your entire work history in your cover letter. This is often a turn-off for employers who are sick of letters that merely summarize their candidates' resumes. Consequently, they see no need to read them.

2. Don't make your cover letter generic!

Boilerplate is not the way to go. You need to tailor your cover letter to speak specifically to each company's needs. Read the job description and brainstorm how you have each prerequisite. Then, pair it with a specific contribution, experience, or accomplishment. Relay this information in a paragraph or a set of bullets. 

3. Keep it short

Your cover letter for a job opening should not exceed one page – ever. You don't have to say it all when you write a cover letter. If you want to get a job interview, just say it right.

Cover letter plus resume equals complete job search toolkit

Just like every good toolbox needs a hammer and a screwdriver, every good job search should have an accomplishments-driven resume and a complementary cover letter. When done correctly, both work together to prove to future employers you're the best candidate for a job. 

Key takeaways:

  • Avoid restating what's already on the resume
  • Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the company and your passion for the job
  • Use a formal business format
  • Tailor your cover letter to the job description
  • Don't let your cover letter go over one page in length

Make sure your resume is as strong as your cover letter. Request a free resume review from one of our career experts today!

Recommended reading:

7 Ways You're Trying Too Hard in Your Job Application

The Dos and Don'ts of Cover Letter Salutations

10 of the Worst Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid

Related Articles:

Why You Lose When You Lie on Your Resume: Learning From Mina Chang

How to Maximize Your Resume Action Words to Wow the Employer

Resume Spelling and Accent Explained

See how your resume stacks up.

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How to Show Your Personality in a Cover Letter

things to say in your cover letter

Write a Unique Cover Letter

Avoid clichés, try a creative first sentence, make a connection, think of unique examples.

  • Show You’ll Fit the Company Culture

Tailor Your Tone to Fit the Industry

  • Keep It Professional

Don’t Go Negative

More cover letter examples.

Hiring managers read dozens, if not hundreds, of applications for every job they post. If you want to get the job, you have to stand out. It’s important to show the hiring manager not only that you are qualified, but also that you are the best candidate for the position.

One way to get your application noticed is to write a unique, engaging cover letter that shows not only your qualifications but also your personality. Go beyond some of the clichéd, formulaic language found in many letters.

If you make your personality stand out in your letter, the hiring manager will more likely give your application a second look.

Of course, there is also such a thing as putting too much personality in your letter. You want to remain professional, and focus on what makes you an ideal candidate. Find the right balance between showing your personality and being professional in your cover letter, and you will be on your way to a job interview.

The best way to show who you are to the company is to avoid writing one generic cover letter for every job listing . Instead, tailor your letter to the specific job and company.

You can write a targeted cover letter in a number of ways:

  • Include keywords from the job listing in your letter.
  • You can also reference the company itself–for example, mention a particular success the company has had, or explain why you are interested in working for the company.
  • Perhaps most importantly, send your letter to a specific person , if possible.

If you have to, do some digging to find the name of the hiring manager, and address your letter to them.

Avoid the phrase “ To whom it may concern ” unless you can't find a contact. It's important to do your best to show a hiring manager that you have taken the time to write a unique cover letter for the specific job.

One of the best ways to avoid sounding like everyone else in your cover letter is to leave out some of the most overused phrases in cover letters. For example, don’t say you are a “hard worker” or that you “go above and beyond.” Try to find unique ways to explain who you are. One way to do this is to focus on particular examples —show them who you are, rather than tell them.

So many cover letters start with the sentence, “I am applying for X position.” While this is a fine way to start, the hiring manager has likely seen this sentence hundreds of times. Try starting with a more engaging first sentence (or first sentences) that shows who you are.

You might express why you are passionate about the job or the company. For example, you could start, “I have always been a storyteller. As a child, I would write countless stories about princes and princesses. Now, I have turned my passion for storytelling into a career in marketing.” Or, “When I first researched your company for a project in a business class over five years ago, I became inspired by your mission to provide low-cost tech solutions.”

A great “hook” will keep the hiring manager reading and will show him or her a bit about why you are a good fit for the job and company.

If you know anyone at the company, or if someone at the company referred you to the job , mention this early on in your cover letter (ideally in the first couple of sentences).

This humanizes you, and makes you seem more like you are already a part of the company culture . It also shows that someone in the company already thinks you are qualified for the job.

Remember that a cover letter should not simply restate your resume. While your resume lists your qualifications, your cover letter goes deeper, providing examples of times you demonstrated particular skills and abilities necessary for the job.

One way to show your personality is to include some unique, even surprising, examples that demonstrate your skills. For example, if you are applying for a job that requires organizational skills, you might mention how you accurately manage and process dozens of monthly shipments from your Etsy account. These kinds of examples are particularly useful if you do not have much relevant work experience.

Of course, only include examples that are relevant—they need to connect back to a skill or trait necessary for the job.

Show You’ll Fit in With the Company Culture

Hiring managers want to know not only that you are qualified, but also that you will fit in with the company culture. Before writing your letter, research the organization. Check out the company’s website, and talk to anyone you know who works there. Then you can mention ways that you might fit into the culture.

For example, if you know they do a lot of after-work team sports, you might briefly mention at the end of the letter that you would love to put your pitching skills to good use.

Some job listings also give you a peek into the company culture . For example, if the listing itself is very silly or funny, feel free to add a little humor to your letter, if that feels natural.

Similarly, you can tailor your letter to fit the personality of the industry. If you are applying for a corporate job, for example, you might want to write a more traditional cover letter. You can still include some personal examples, and maybe a catchy first sentence, but you should avoid too much humor or zaniness.

If you are applying for a job in an industry that is a bit more informal—say, a tech startup company—you can get a little bit more creative. Your tone can be more lighthearted, and you can include some creative examples.

If you’re applying for a job in a visual, creative field, consider showing your personality through the form of your letter. You might include bullet points , or even a visual (such as an infographic). You can include some of these nontraditional elements in your resume too.

Keep It Professional 

No matter how much of your personality you decide to put into your cover letter, keep the letter professional. It needs to be well written and error-free. It also needs to stay focused on the main topic: why you are a terrific fit for the job.

Some people try to add personality by using phrases like “I know you hate reading cover letters, but…” or “I know I am one of many candidates, but…” Avoid any phrases that sound negative.

Also, avoid phrases that imply you know how the hiring manager feels. You don’t actually know whether he or she hates reading cover letters, and you don’t know how many candidates applied for the job. Focus on the positive, and don’t make assumptions about the hiring manager, the job, or the company.

Sample Cover Letter Showing Personality

Sara Jones 7 Chestnut Street Anytown, Anystate Zip Code 555-555-5555

January 5, 2019

John Wilson Editorial Director XYZ Magazine 5 Main Street, Suite 1 Anytown, Anystate Zip Code

Dear Mr. Wilson,

I’m writing this cover letter to you at 11 pm. Why? Because I just finished speaking with my former coworker, Jane Smith, who tells me that you’re hiring for the position of editorial assistant, and I wanted to apply immediately.

Jane will tell you that I’ve been eager to apply for a role at XYZ Magazine since we worked together, first at our student magazine, where I was managing editor and she was editor in chief, and then at as assistants. I’ve always valued XYZ’s showcase for diverse and emerging voices, as well as its commitment to fact-checking and copyediting.

In fact, my desire to work for your magazine informed my studies at Large Public University. I took several copyediting and multimedia graphic design courses in my last year and have continued taking classes after graduation.

In addition to my background in multimedia design and copyediting – and my passion for XYZ – I have:

  • Three years of experience brainstorming, pitching, and assigning stories
  • Excellent research and reporting skills
  • Extensive experience analyzing traffic trends with Google Analytics
  • Expert-level social media management skills
  • An intense love affair with the Oxford Comma (which I know you share)

I’ve also had a few bylines on XYZ over the years:

I’d love to speak with you about the role. Please feel free to contact me at 555-555-5555 or to discuss it or to arrange an interview.

Thanks, and best regards,

Sara Jones [signature for hard copy]

Review cover letter examples for many different types of jobs and get templates you can use to write your own letters.

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Best Words To Describe Yourself (For Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews)

  • How To Write A Resume
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  • Action Verbs On A resume
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Using the right words can make a huge difference in a resume, cover letter , or interview. You only get a show time to sell yourself as a candidate, meaning that picking the right descriptors can make a huge difference. Make sure to use strong adjectives, action words, power words, and language specific to your industry when describing yourself.

Word choice in a resume and cover letter are extremely important, as they’re both short documents that need to impress a hiring manager in a hurry. If you’re writing a resume, cover letter, or going to an interview and want to know the right adjectives to use, then keep reading.

Key Takeaways

You can use action verbs, industry-specific skill words, and powerful adjectives to describe yourself in resumes, cover letters, and interviews.

Stay away from buzzwords, slang terms, and hyperbolic descriptors.

Incorporate keywords from the job description into your resume and cover letter in order to get past ATS filters and to a real person.

Power words are words that evoke an emotional reaction. They’re often used in marketing techniques, but can also be useful for resumes, cover letters, and interviews.

Best Words to Describe Yourself for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews

The best words to use to describe yourself

Tips for using power words in your resume, tips for incorporate power words into your cover letter, how to answer “how would you describe yourself” at a job interview, example answers to “how would you describe yourself”, resume-killing phrases to avoid, best words to describe yourself faqs, ask the experts.

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It’s important to use evocative words when describing your personality, skills, or accomplishments. You have to make sure you don’t go overboard, but be sure to use active voice and powerful adjectives. You want to sound proactive and results-oriented.

Emphasize using these types of words:

Strong verbs. On your resume, you want to make sure that you start your sentence with a verb, and the stronger the better.

For instance: Arranged and organized weekly team meetings.

Rather than: Responsible for arranging and holding weekly meetings.

The first once sounds much more proactive and punchier, emphasizing the active part of your duties. A well-written cover letter will prioritize stronger verbs as well, as will an interviewer . For instance, replace commonly used verbs with stronger one, such as:

Change cut costs to decreased, streamlined, economized, reduced expenses, or controlled costs

Replace led with: orchestrated, conducted, directed, or spearheaded

Created with designed, crafted, developed, formulated, or conceptualized

Boosted with increased, accelerated, drove, improved, or optimized

Improved with advanced, enhanced, increased, or strengthened

Trained with facilitated, educated, instructed, taught, guided, or coached

Industry skill words

If you want to catch a recruiter ’s attention, consider what industry you’re in. There are certain skills or keywords that show your expertise in a particular industry and are likely to be skills that hiring managers are looking for. It also shows that you’re familiar with the skills and expertise required in the job you’re applying for.

Here are a few examples:

Sales: relationship building, negotiation, persuasive communication, prospecting, closing, territory development

Management: leadership, supervisory skills, coaching, mentoring

Marketing: SEO, conversion optimization, email marketing, content marketing

Accounting: taxation compliance, automatic data processing (ADP), reconciliation, accounts payable, accounts receivable , return on assets

Project management: budget management, proposal writing, compliance, vendor management, risk mitigation

Administration: attention to detail, creating macros, confidentiality, Microsoft Office suite, scheduling

Engineering: quality control , troubleshooting, materials management, research and development, systems integration

Web development: graphic design, user experience, e-commerce, web design, front end/back end, Java, HTML/CSS

Finding these industry-related keywords is easier than you think. Just do a quick Google search for the job openings in that industry. Read the job descriptions and look for any keywords that stand out. Jot down any that describe the qualifications and skills that you have.

Or, even better, identify keywords from a specific job description. Then include these keywords in your resume. When you know what your potential employers are looking for , it’s easy to reverse engineer your resume to show you are a perfect match for their needs.

Powerful Adjectives

When you are writing your resume you want to come across as a rock star, but not sound like a commercial. You need to strike that perfect balance between strong and enticing and blatantly promotional. Choosing the right adjectives for your resume summary statement and the body of your resume will help you find that sweet spot.

Employers are looking to attract and retain top talent. Leadership shows that you have initiative and can drive results for their organization.

You don’t want to use the word leadership over and over. You want to vary it a bit. Here are some words to describe your leadership qualities. Below are a couple of examples. Leadership Adjectives:



Teamwork Adjectives:

Deadline Driven

Detail Oriented

Communication Skills




Using power words, strong verbs, and powerful adjectives are a great way to catch a recruiter’s attention — so long as you don’t overdo it. There are ways that you can incorporate strong language into a resume more effectively, and here are tips to writing up an excellent resume.

Be concise. Short pithy sentences beat longer sentences. Simple direct sentences have more power.

Keep bullet points to one line. Try not to have bullet points wrap around. Shorten them to one line if possible.

Eliminate any widows. A widow is a single word that is wrapped around and is alone on the next line. Don’t do this:

Spearheaded initiative to go green and eliminate delivery truck gas emissions by August 2021

Include ATS friendly words. You may have the best resume in the world, but if your resume is not ATS-friendly , it may never be seen by the potential employer. ATS stands for applicant tracking system and is the robot filter that companies use to handle large amounts of resumes — you need to make it past the filter to be seen.

If you want to get your resume seen, you’ll want to include the right ATS keywords. You write resumes both for people and for the applicant tracking system. Many bigger companies scan and search through resumes pulling top applicants to the top. If your resume doesn’t make it through the ATS system, it may never be seen by a recruiter or hiring manager.

The keywords that the ATS system checks for are determined by the future employer. That’s why it’s important to closely read a job description, look for keywords, and include these keywords in your resume.

Cover letters are where you showcase both your writing skills and other interests and skills that don’t fit well into your resume. That means that it’s your employer’s first introduction to you as more than just a list of skills. Here are some ways to use power words to ensure you have an engaging cover letter.

Focus on the opening line . The first line of the cover letter is where you can hook your reader . Make sure that it’s powerful and gives them an idea of why you’re interested in the job. Don’t be afraid to be enthusiastic, so long as you maintain professionalism.

Don’t just rehash your resume. Your cover letter isn’t just your resume in paragraph form. Make sure to include skills and interests that aren’t in the cover letter. Once again, pay attention to industry skills, and the verbs and adjectives you use.

Showcase your passion. Part of a cover letter’s job is making you interesting. Don’t list any interesting thing about yourself — try to make it relevant to the job. But beyond that, draw in whatever passion or interest you have and make it applicable to the job you’re applying for.

Add a call to action. Don’t forget to add a call to action. This can be as simple as saying you look forward to hearing from them, or it can be that you are excited to discuss your qualifications in an interview. But make sure to use strong verbs and active voice.

Make sure it’s ATS friendly. Not every ATS will scan cover letters, but that does’t mean that you should overlook the importance of keywords. Make sure to put both industry specific keywords as well as ones listed on the job description. If the ATS does scan your cover letter, it’ll show you to be eminently qualified.

It’s always difficult to balance being underprepared for an interview and coming off overly scripted. That means that you need to consider what you know about the position and the company and come up with good off-the-cuff answers, which is a difficult skill to master. But here are some ways to help you answer this question.

Get to the point and stay relevant. It can be easy to go off on a tangent when this question comes up. Get straight to the point and give one or two personality traits that showcase the professional skills you feel the employer values most.

Be honest. Of course, it’s not just about telling the interviewer what you think they want to hear. You’re not doing anyone any favors by lying about your personality or work style . Answer honestly so that both you and the hiring manager can decide whether the job is a good fit for you.

Pick universally likeable traits. Words like “authoritative” or “tolerant” might be positive to some, but others might read negative traits into them. Instead, stick with personal qualities that everyone can agree are positive, like “collaborative,” “curious,” or “diligent.”

Give context. This is the most important part of your answer. It’s not enough to simply rattle off a few adjectives and call it a day. The interviewer will appreciate a story in which the descriptive words come to life.

For example, if you describe yourself as persistent, describe a professional situation in which your persistence paid off with fantastic results.

I would describe myself as a team player who always puts big-picture objectives over personal gain. When I was working on a design project with other graphic designers, we realized late in production that there a number of small, difficult-to-ingrain elements that we failed to implement. While it was a group mistake, I took up the extra work to make sure that the other designers could start work on the client’s next project. That client ended up being impressed with our attention to detail and remains a customer to this day.
Persistence is what sets me apart. When I had a dream for a social media marketing campaign, I worked tirelessly at it. For months, we saw no traction as posts went un-shared and engagement was rock bottom. While I was by no means an expert on this part of digital marketing, I made it a goal to seek out advice and study up on best practices. After six months and countless trials and errors, I was able to earn us over 15,000 subscribers and engagement had gone up by over 1000%. When I know an idea is a winner, I’ll stop at nothing to make it a reality.
My biggest asset is my creativity, and it’s a word my former supervisor used to describe me a lot. We once had a project that involved coding multiple landing pages with similar assets. When I saw that this was going to be a long-term project, I took a few hours to write a Python script that could automate a lot of the grunt work while ensuring consistency. Nobody had approached the problem that way or indicated that this was a possible solution, but my manager was impressed. She credited this creative idea as saving over $10,000 in hours of labor.
As an executive assistant , I find that organization is the trait that defines me in my professional life. When you have a boss who handles dozens of client accounts worth over $1M, you need to make sure that each and every client is receiving the attention they need, when they need it. By creating a master spreadsheet that included all important information, and condensing that master list into highly readable notes for the VP of sales, I was able to streamline client meetings and account management.

You know the feeling you get when your parents try to use phrases to be cool? Like when your mom is hanging out with you and your friends and says something is “sick”. It’s kind of icky, inappropriate, and disgusting. That’s how hiring managers feel when you use buzzwords on a resume.

Are resume buzzwords worth it ? Many of these phrases were cool in their day, but now, these cliches have seriously lost their staying power and it’s time to retire them.

Are you guilty of using any of the following outdated terms? Here are the resume buzzwords and things to avoid putting on a resume .

If you don’t want to make recruiters cringe, explain what you mean in engaging conversational language. Don’t lean on these overused terms.

How do you describe yourself in a resume?

You describe yourself in a resume by using action words, industry-specific skills, and powerful adjectives throughout it. By making the most of the words you use to describe your goals and accomplishments, you can give hiring managers a solid understanding of who you are and what you’re about.

What are three words to describe yourself for a job?

Three words to describe yourself for a job are “motivated,” “reliable,” and “strategic.” There are plenty of other words out there to describe you as well, but these are likely to please almost any employer (just make sure they actually describe you before you use them).

How can I describe myself in one word?

You can describe yourself in one word by choosing a word that can be applied to you in many situations. For example, “tenacious” and “positive” are both words that you can exemplify in a variety of settings.

What are good action words to use on a resume?

Good action words to use on a resume include words like “achieved,” “conducted,” and “assisted.” Use stronger words that evoke more specific meanings, and avoid more bland terms like “managed” or “worked on.”

University of Colorado Boulder – Action Verbs to Use on Your Resume

Harvard Business Review — How to Respond to “So, Tell Me About Yourself” In a Job Interview

Forbes — 34 Words and Phrases That Scream ‘I’m a Leader’ on Resumes

What tips would you give to optimize a resume?

things to say in your cover letter

Bill Gutches The Path To Inkc

In an Overview or Value Proposition, use power verbs to start each bullet or statement and be sure to quantify the amount of benefit your client / employer received as a result of your work.

Make sure the Start and Stop dates for each Employer or Contract are contiguous: that there are no gaps in the work timeline.

Create a unique resume with appropriate key phrases for each application so that the words in the resume match as closely as possible to the job description you are applying for.

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Hope Stebbins is an experienced writer and editor within the field of finance and contracts, sales, and business operations. She combines operational analysis with creativity to develop compelling written content. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Eastern University.

Don Pippin is an executive and HR leader for Fortune 50 and 500 companies and startups. In 2008, Don launched area|Talent with a focus on helping clients identify their brand. As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Digital Career Strategist, and Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Don guides clients through career transitions.

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17 Things to Say In an Interview to Land the Job, According to Hiring Managers

C urating your resume, writing a cover letter aligned to the position, drafting a LinkedIn profile free of misspellings and passing the preliminary recruiter screening—you've jumped through all the job application hoops, and you've made it to the interview. First, take a deep breath and congratulate yourself; it's a compliment to your skills that they want to interview you. And then prepare. You'll want to know exactly what to say in an interview before you ever step through the door.

"I've interviewed hundreds of people over the years, and I can tell you that the thing that sets apart a great candidate from a good candidate is preparation," says Cynthia Banks, a professor of business at the University of Colorado–Boulder who was the CEO of a global education company for more than 20 years. "The interview is not something you want to wing."

To help you prepare for this important moment in your job search, we talked to experts to get you the lowdown on what to say in an interview (and want to avoid saying). If you're not getting hired , your grasp of business etiquette and digital etiquette may need some fine-tuning. Keep reading to learn top-notch job-interview etiquette and career advice from the people doing the hiring.

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What to say at the beginning of an interview

The wait is over. You've read the job description. The hiring manager has invited you into the office, and now it's time to wow 'em. (And, you know, not sweat through your shirt.) Here's what to say in an interview that's just begun to land you that new job offer.

"It's so nice to meet you! I've really been looking forward to this interview. It's a beautiful day, isn't it?"

Small talk and pleasantries are expected communication skills in business settings, so you need to know how to introduce yourself and connect in an interview. Practice saying your introduction while offering a firm handshake, Banks says.

"Be upbeat and calm," she says. "But don't stress about it too much. We know people get nervous doing interviews, and most interviewers will be accommodating."

This is a little more awkward when your interview is on Zoom , and job seekers should practice with your equipment before your interview so you don't spend your opening minutes asking if the other person can hear you or worrying about the lighting, she adds.

"When this position opened up, I jumped at the chance to apply. I have a background in X, and I know the company is doing exciting things moving that field forward."

If your interviewer asks why you are interested in working for their company or how you heard about the job, you should have your "elevator pitch" ready and practiced, says Dave Johnson, a hiring manager with 12 years of experience in a wide variety of industries, including tech, health care, telecommunications and the service industry.

"When you're job searching, this pitch is a tool you should always have in your pocket. You should highlight a bit of your relevant career experience and how that led you to apply for this position," he explains. "This is a good time to frame yourself as the ideal candidate."

He adds that you should keep your answers relatively short, between 30 seconds and a minute.

"I've admired this company for X, and I feel like my skills in Y will be a great fit for your current projects."

Another popular early interview question is asking what interests you about the specific role you are applying for. Your answer to this question shows that you've done your research and thought about how your skills match the company's needs, Johnson says.

"I like to hear why they are excited about the position, and I also like to get a high-level understanding of their experience to jog my memory about them or their resume before I start asking more questions," he says.

Again, keep it brief—between 30 seconds and a minute. Talking too long is one of the bad work habits you should avoid.

"I've lived in New York for five years, I have two dogs and I am taking a night class to become a pastry chef because I love baking."

"Tell me a little bit about yourself" is the standard icebreaker in interviews, and how you answer it can set the tone for the rest of the meeting, so it's a good idea to prepare a response. (The "tell me about yourself" example answer above is a good template.)

"Tell me three things about yourself that are a little personal but not oversharing, and keep it under two to three minutes," Banks says. She advises making your things relatable (like those having to do with food, travel, hobbies and pets) but not controversial (avoid religion and politics). At least one of those things should be memorable. "This helps me get to know you as a person."

Under no circumstances should you read them your resume, she adds. Instead, assume the interviewer has read your resume, then work in your credentials and expertise throughout the interview. ( Psst! Make sure you're avoiding these common resume mistakes .)

"I love running and am training for a marathon. It's been good for my physical endurance but also helps me practice my mental endurance and focus—something that I bring to my job as well. Hopefully, the job will give me fewer blisters!"

Another way to answer the " tell me about yourself" question is to take one of your personal facts and relate it to the job or the company in a positive way, says Rebecca Metts, the director of people at an aerospace company and a people-operations management consultant with more than 10 years of experience.

"I like it when people point out how their personality meshes with the role," she says. "Keeping it lighthearted and adding a little appropriate humor will make you memorable."

She adds that the interview is never the time to share a difficult life struggle, like a health or family crisis. Nor is it the time to disclose things about you that might negatively affect your ability to work, like a pregnancy or a chronic illness. If the interviewer asks you to share a time you struggled with something difficult, pick a fairly bland, work-related example, not a personal one, she adds. For instance, you might say, "When the client moved up the deadline by a month, I was really stressed out and wasn't sure if we'd be able to do it. But I overcame that by ..."

What to say in the middle of an interview

The discussion is heating up, and the hiring manager is moving beyond small talk into the nitty-gritty details of your previous jobs and your work abilities. Here's what to say in a job interview to impress the hiring manager.

"I learned a lot working at X company, but I've been looking for more opportunities to grow, and I'm excited to learn more about the field here at Y company."

Asking why you left your last job is a pretty standard interview question—but the interviewer isn't looking for what your reason was as much as how you share it, Banks says. "Keep your answer vague and positive," she says. "Resist the urge to criticize your previous employer. Even if it's all true, it shows that you're willing to trash talk others, and that says something about your character and work ethic."

There's a time and a place to complain politely, but your interview is not it. Instead of rehashing the past, she suggests keeping the conversation focused on your interest in this new opportunity or on what you hope to achieve if you're changing careers .

"I have three years of experience with X software and have a portfolio I can show you to attest to my skills. I have only one year of experience with Y software, but that's something I've always wanted to learn more about."

There's a fine line between underselling and exaggerating your skill set, but that's the line you want to walk, Banks says. She adds that in her experience, women are more likely to undersell themselves, while men are more likely to exaggerate.

"You want to be humble and show that you're teachable but also be confident," she says. "Stand behind what you do know and emphasize that while also being honest about what you don't."

In the meantime, you can also do a little career cushioning by learning new skills that make you more marketable.

"One of my strengths is dealing with change in a fast-paced environment. An example of this is …"

Interviewers love to ask open-ended questions, but even if the question isn't ideal—perhaps they ask you "Do you do well with change?"—you should answer the question that's asked and offer a little bit more detail, Banks says. There are lots of potential things to say in an interview, but the hiring manger wants more than one-word answers.

So don't just answer "yes" or "no" to the above question; instead, answer and then elaborate on an example that shows, not just tells about, your expertise.

"Did I answer your question?"

Interview questions can get pretty involved and technical. For these in-depth questions, you want to make sure you're answering the question completely and giving them all the info they need. One way to check is to simply ask them at the end of your answer.

"I really appreciate it when an applicant is self-aware and asks, 'Did I answer your question?'" Johnson says. "Of course, don't do this on every answer, but if you sense they aren't following, it's a good way to give the hiring manager a chance for clarity. This shows me they can read body language and are self and socially aware."

"Your company is an industry leader in X. What's the next move or the goal you're working toward?"

It's not just the interviewer who should be asking the questions! This interview is just as much about you getting to know the company, Banks says. Far from an etiquette mistake , asking questions of the hiring manager is actually a good thing.

"Businesspeople usually love talking about their company and will welcome the chance to share their vision with you," she says. "I also love when people ask specific questions about the company because it shows that they've done their research and are truly interested in what we do."

"I see that you value X. That's also really important to me, as shown by …"

"Companies often put their values and mission statement on their website, and it's not just throwaway jargon. They mean something," Metts says. "Being able to say those back to the interviewer, and [articulate] how you share those values, shows that you did your research and that you're a team player."

This gives you a good opening to promote some of the qualities or skills that make you a great fit for the job, she adds. Reading up on a company before the interview is one of the top job-hunting tips from experts, and it's a good way to avoid common job-hunting mistakes .

"I completed the pre-interview homework. Did you have any questions about my work?"

In this day and age, it's quite common for companies to ask you to do some sort of homework. It can feel like a burden or just another hoop to jump through, but companies see it as an opportunity for you to show them a lot without taking up a lot of their time, Johnson says.

"People who complete the homework are showing they are motivated to get the job and are hard-working," he says. "If you decline the homework, you likely will be declining the job, but you need to do what's right for you."

He adds that it's important that, if you're submitting work or a portfolio outside the interview, you make sure it shows all your own work.

What to say at the end of an interview/job interview questions

You're almost done! The conversation is winding to a close. Here's what to say in an interview to wrap up with a bang. (Hint: you'll want follow-up questions!)

"I'd love to follow up on something you said earlier. May I ask a question about X?"

The end of the interview is your time to ask for any clarifications, Johnson says. In fact, not asking any questions is one of those so-called polite habits that job interviewers actually dislike .

"I expect candidates to ask me at least a couple of questions at the end of the interview," he says. "I like the questions more when they are based on things we've talked about because it shows they are listening."

"I really enjoyed speaking with you about X!"

Interviewers are people too, and they appreciate positive feedback. "As long as you are speaking the truth, I feel it's good to let them know you enjoyed the conversation, especially some specific part about the conversation, because that makes the person feel good, and then they may like you more," Johnson says. "You know, positive psychology!"

In addition to making you more likable, giving a compliment also shows your people skills and your ability to focus and retain information—all talents that are likely critical to the job you're applying for.

"What's the next step in the process?"

Sometimes the interviewer will volunteer what you should expect to happen next, but if they don't, it is OK to ask, especially if that was not clearly laid out at the beginning of the interview process, Johnson says. "I would not ask for specific timelines, as it can make the interviewer feel pressured," he adds.

"I love what I've heard today, and I hope you enjoyed meeting me as well. I'd love to meet again to discuss this further."

Regardless of how you feel it went, close the interview with a positive statement and an offer to meet again, Banks says. "This keeps the door open for a second interview without you asking for it outright, which can be seen as presumptuous," she says.

"I'd love to learn more about working for this company and how I can contribute."

The end of the interview is not the time to bring up salary, benefits or vacation time—all of those should be left until the negotiating phase, Johnson says. (Speaking of money, there are certain things you shouldn't say when asking for a raise either.)

By broaching those topics too early, you risk jumping the gun or making it seem like you care more about the compensation than the job. Of course, the compensation is a huge part of why you're interested in the job (after all, we work to pay the bills), but there will be a time to discuss all that, and the end of the interview isn't the time, Banks says.

Another reason to let details like salary go for now? In larger companies, the people doing the interviewing may not know that information yet, Johnson says.

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About the experts

  • Cynthia Banks , MS, is a professor of business at the University of Colorado–Boulder. She was the CEO of a global education company for more than 20 years and now works as a career coach and runs a consulting business.
  • Dave Johnson is a hiring manager with 12 years of experience working in a wide variety of industries, including tech, health care, telecom and the service industry.
  • Rebecca Metts is the director of people at an aerospace company and a people-operations management consultant with more than 10 years of experience.

The post 17 Things to Say In an Interview to Land the Job, According to Hiring Managers appeared first on Reader's Digest .

17 Things to Say In an Interview to Land the Job, According to Hiring Managers


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